Save the Date: EL Education's NEW website launches Monday, June 26!

Implementing the K-2 Labs

This video shows the K-2 Labs in action in Kady Taylor's 1st grade classroom at Kuumba Academy in Wilmington, Delaware. It explains the purpose and structure of Labs, the distinct Labs and their stages, as well as shows the power of Labs to build students' content knowledge, develop oral language, and engage in purposeful play using multiple modalities. The video addresses common questions and challenges teachers face when implementing this component of the EL Education Language Arts curriculum at grades K-2. The companion video, Behind the Practice: Planning the K-2 Labs with Kady Taylor, further reveals the teacher's thinking about planning and implementing the Labs.


- ♪ Imagine, create and explore ♪ ♪ Engineer, research and more ♪

- [Narrator] At Kuumba Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, first graders have time to play and explore, develop oral language and content knowledge, and practice becoming independent learners. ♪ And explore ♪ ♪ Engineer, research and more. ♪

- The thought I walk away with after each lab session with my kids is just how thankful I am that they get this hour every day where they do get to play and be six year olds. But they’re also building deeper connections to their content, they’re using their academic vocabulary when they’re speaking to their peers, they’re collaborating.

- Doesn’t this spoon kind of look like a spoonbill’s beak?

- Yes.

- It’s very long and flat and it has its handle.

- I wanna try it.

- Here.

- [Narrator] Labs are one hour a day and support and extend student learning from the module lessons. These two hours of content based literacy instruction are complimentary, working together to accelerate the achievement of all students, and are critical components of the E L Education K to 2 Language Arts Curriculum.

- You’re going to explore. What kind of beak is really good at crushing seeds? It reinforces the content that’s introduced over the different units of study in the module.

- [Kady] Each time you’ve drawn your bird, your wing has gotten better. What kind of bird has a beak that can crush?

- A macaw.

- A macaw, that’s right.

- [Narrator] In this video you will learn: the purpose of labs, the structure of the one hour labs block, the five labs, the four stages of labs, and how labs foster independence and character. The hour long labs time is divided into four daily activities: storytime, goalsetting, in the labs, and reflection.

- What makes a bird, a bird? And that’s what we’re going to think about as we move to our different lab stations today. Our story today is going to open up our labs.

- [Narrator] Storytime is ten minutes. Students listen to the teacher read aloud a rich text, either from the curriculum’s recommended texts or teacher’s discretion connected either to the habit of character focus or the content of the module. ♪ A Bird in a tree ♪ ♪ Looks like one red leaf left over ♪

- Right? That cardinal looks like a red leaf. ♪ If there are lots of birds in one tree ♪ ♪ And they all fly away ♪ ♪ At the same time ♪ ♪ It looks like the tree yelled, “Surprise!” ♪

- We’re going to create a sculpture of our expert bird.

- [Narrator] During the five minutes of goal setting, students decide on and articulate what their individual goals are for the labs that day.

- So Taj, you would try to sculpt a--

- [Taj] Woodpecker.

- Good job.

- [Narrator] During the forty minutes in the labs, students engage in labs that are designed to compliment the current module. The five distinct labs are explore, engineer, create, research, and imagine. In any given module, however, just four of the five labs will be used to focus student learning and limit material preparation.

- [Kady] Is this beak good at picking things up? Can you crack? That’s what I want you to investigate with each other.

- [Narrator] The explore lab allows students to make meaning of abstract ideas and build content knowledge through hands-on, collaborative activities experimenting with authentic objects and tools.

- Then it’s more like the bones of a bird, right?

- [Narrator] In the engineer lab, students become scientists, engineers, designers, and inventors, attempting to solve a design dilemma by creating models.

- Ours is staying up.

- I look at the picture to help me make the body with Play-Doh.

- [Narrator] The create lab gives students the opportunity to express a range of content understanding through visual arts developing their fine motor skills, craftsmanship, and perseverance through multiple drafts. In the research lab, students study pictures and photographs, watch videos, and conduct original research based on their own questions. In the imagine lab, students play and perform becoming immersed in the content while building leadership, negotiation, and executive functioning. Each of the five labs run across the entire module and go through stages that lead to higher levels of independence and a final product. The four stages are the launch, practice, extend and choice and challenge stages.

- So moving through those different stages is really helpful and also critical in terms of routine, and expectations, and procedures for your lab time. Transitioning between three different stations is something that I really needed to flesh out. What transitions are they already doing in module that I can carry over? In labs, my students are fostering their character. They can ask questions and really push each other on their learning. Those character traits of respect and persistence and initiative and collaboration and all that inner passion and drive has really come to fruition through lab. Do you think we should try to?

- Yes.

- What do you think that would do if we filled it with water? We would be able to do what?

- We could scoop the water up.

- Oh, you think so?

- Yeah.

- You keep exploring with dirt. Why don’t I go get you a bucket full of water and why don’t we test it and see if a beak that can scoop dirt can also scoop water? And labs has really helped them understand why we do the work that we do. Share out. Why are our labs so important for our learning? They help us--

- They help us because with hollow materials we have to learn--

- [Narrator] After forty minutes in the labs, students spend five minutes discussing and reflecting on what went well in labs and what they still need to work on.

- How strong a bird’s bone is.

- Wow. So that lab where you got to build with those hollow materials really helps us understand how strong a bird’s bones are. I’ve really seen labs excite my kids. It’s like ignited this inner fire. It’s this crazy hum that rises up in the room. They’re learning through play, they’re learning from each other. Nothing feels overwhelming and there’s this sense of joy. Labs are important because they bring joy to the room. Joy to the learning of the content. ♪ Oh what fun we had in labs ♪ ♪ We play to learn with our friends ♪ ♪ But it’s now come to an end. ♪

Read More

Created By

EL Education

Resource Downloads

Please log in to access the downloadable resources.